Dal for Days

 

It was cold and rainy in New York City this past week. To warm up my belly without putting too much strain on my wallet, I decided to make dal. Dal is an Indian lentil stew and boy, is it good!

Sometimes I get intimidated by making Indian dishes because of the number of spices used, etc. I want to do it “right” but don’t always have the opportunity to stock my pantry with every seasoning. The recipe I go by is as minimal as it gets.

If you make the spice blend ahead of time and keep some on hand, your prep time will be even shorter. Let me know if you have any variations you’d like to share!

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Easy Dal

What you’ll need:

  • cutting board
  • chef’s knife
  • high sided non-stick pan
  • medium sauté pan
  • garlic press
  • small bowl
  • measuring cup
  • measuring spoons
  • can opener

Dal Spice Blend (make this first)

  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (ground)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seed (ground)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne or paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mix together in a small bowl. Taste a tiny bit to gauge heat/flavor. Feel free to add a little more or less depending on how you like it.

Ingredients

  • 3 tsp olive oil (2 tsp + 1 tsp)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled + minced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
  • 2 tsp dal spice blend
  • 1/2 cup red split lentils
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 can lite coconut milk (do not open until ready to pour)
  • 1/2 bunch kale, washed and roughly chopped
  • chili sauce, sriracha, liquid aminos (you’ll see later why they are no measurements)
  • cilantro, roughly chopped (sub parsley if you don’t like cilantro)
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • Rice (start cooking before the lentils) or naan (toast in the last 5 minutes until warmed through)
  1. In a high sided non-stick skillet, heat 2 tsp of olive oil over medium high heat. When hot, sauté the ginger and shallot for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the dal spice blend, salt to taste, and stir.
  2. Shake the can of coconut milk and open. Add the coconut milk, 3/4 cup water and red lentils to the pan. Bring to a simmer then lower the temperature to medium, stirring occasionally. Cook for 20-22 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Squeeze the juice from 2 lime quarters into the lentils and stir.
  3. After the lentils have cooked for about 10 minutes, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a medium sized pan over medium high heat. Add the kale – be careful for any spattering from the water hitting the oil. Sauté the kale until wilted. Season it with some chili sauce and liquid aminos if you’d like. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Evenly distribute the lentils into two bowls. Top with the cooked kale, carb and cilantro. Enjoy!

Tip: Great for lunch the next day. You can double recipe easily- just test the spice blend before adding. You can top the dal with any sautéed or roasted vegetable and protein!

Can’t get any easier: Chia Pudding

Weight Update: I’m at 169lbs (down from 181lbs)! Finally below 170! Only 4 more pounds until I reach my first goal. This is the slowest, most agonizing process but I have to keep going. Follow me on Instagram for more frequent updates.

Happy Sunday everyone! It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post so I’m going to give you two recipes to get you through your week. It’s the same base, two different ways, and an endless number of possibilities.

I drink a meal replacement shake every morning and it doesn’t change much. 1 scoop protein powder (I use IdealShape!) almond milk, almond butter, chia, and banana (239 calories). Yum!!! But it gets kind of boring after 10 or 15 of these. So when I need to switch things up but still want to keep it low cal + healthy, I make chia pudding.

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View from the top of the breakfast hunger

If I forget to make it the night before, I toss all of the ingredients into my Nutribullet and voila! Easy breakfast.

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Blended Chia Pudding – great breakfast for the office!

Blended Chia Pudding

What you’ll need

  • high speed blender
  • spatula
  • tablespoon
  • 1/2 c. measuring cup
  • small container with a lid

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, cashew milk, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • cinnamon
  • toppings! fruit, nut butter, nuts, cacao, dried fruit, coconut, granola, whatever you like

Instructions

  1. Combine the chia seeds, milk and maple syrup in the blender. Sprinkle cinnamon to taste.
  2. Blend on high for about 1-2 minutes, until thick and smooth. It will be slightly gelatinous to touch. Pour into the container and top with your favorite things. Enjoy!

Est. 203 calories without toppings

Overnight Chia Pudding

What you’ll need

  • small container with a lid
  • tablespoon
  • 1/2 c. measuring cup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice (almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, cashew milk, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • cinnamon
  • toppings! fruit, nut butter, nuts, cacao, dried fruit, coconut, granola, whatever you like

Instructions

  1. Combine the chia seeds, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon to taste. Give it a good stir.
  2. Let sit in the fridge for a least 4 hours. It should thicken up immensely and have a gelatinous, tapioca like consistency. If it’s too thick when you’re ready to eat it, add a little extra milk to loosen it up. Top it with your favorite things. Enjoy!

Est. 215 calories without toppings

Tip: Feel free to add 1/8 tsp of almond or vanilla extra or 1/4 tsp orange zest to brighten the flavor. You can also do milk blends. I personally like using almond milk and canned, cooking coconut milk. It makes it so creamy!

 

Sunday Snacks: Roasted Chickpeas

Happy Sunday! I was thinking of featuring a favorite snack on Sundays. Thoughts?

Today we’re chomping on roasted chickpeas. In the spirit of this wonderfully quick snack, I’ll keep today’s post short & sweet, but mostly savory.

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Roasted Chickpeas

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 large baking sheet lined with foil or parchment
  • colander
  • spatula
  • Paper towels or a very clean dish towel

Ingredients:

  • 1 29oz can of chickpeas, drained OR 2 15oz cans, drained
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • any other herb/spice your heart desires

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400. f you haven’t already, drain the chickpeas in the colander.
  2. Carefully and slowly pour the chickpeas onto a dish towel or layer of paper towels on the counter. Dry the chickpeas until they have an almost matte like texture. Air drying works great too.
  3. Transfer to the foil/parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with about 1-2 tbsp olive oil and stir to evenly coat with oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Bake for a total of 30 minutes, checking and stirring every 10 minutes, until chickpeas are lightly browned. Caution when stirring the chickpeas while they’re baking- some might pop at you!
  5. Remove from oven and transfer to a bowl. Toss with your favorite spices. I have a homemade za’atar blend that I like to put on chickpeas, yogurt, and popcorn. Enjoy!

Tip: These are seriously the best when they are warm. Also, while these are delightful and vegan, chickpeas are high in protein and in calories so be sure to eat the amount that works for your diet.

Polenty of Pizza

Pizza. It’s all I think about sometimes. How can I get it? What should I put on it? Where should I get it from? What kind of crust do I want? These are all questions than run through my mind, especially when hunger has set in and it’s only a matter of time before I implode.

I’m sure you’ve had a similar experience.

When I remember to think ahead or I have some extra time on my hands, I like to make these polenta pizza crusts. They’re simple in terms of ingredients and instructions. The process is a bit time consuming but it’s absolutely worth it. The crust is gluten-free but that doesn’t mean that it’s not filling or tastes weird. It has a satisfying texture of crispy and smooth- it’s kind of magical actually.

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Polenta Pizza Crusts (2 9″-crusts)

What you’ll need:

  • A medium pot, whisk, 2 9-11″ tart dishes, baking spatula, baking sheet
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of fine ground cornmeal + 2 tbsp
  • 1/4 cup coarse cornmeal (polenta)

Toppings (completely up to you but this is what’s pictured above)

  • 3 tbsp sundried tomato pesto
  • 2-4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded or cut into thin pieces (cheddar featured above)
  • 1 handful broccoli, cut into tiny florets

How to make it:

  1. In a medium pot over medium heat, combine the vegetable stock, olive oil, basil, oregano and salt. Bring to a boil.
  2. Lower the heat to medium low and slowly stir in both cornmeals with a whisk. Keep stirring for about 3-4 minutes with as few lumps as possible.
  3. Remove from heat and evenly divide the polenta to the tart dishes. Use a baking spatula to spread the polenta into an even thin layer. Let them cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350. Sprinkle the cornmeal on the baking sheet. Remove the polenta crusts from the fridge and transfer to the baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the edges are crispy and the crust has browned a bit on the bottom.
  5. Remove from the oven and top with your favorite toppings. Bake for another 15 minutes. Enjoy!

*Made vegan by not topping it with cheese.

**Thanks to Steve for help with the title.

BBQ Tofu

I feel like I haven’t been getting nearly enough protein lately. I eat primarily beans, nuts and yogurt with the occasional tempeh but recently I’ve been ravenous after my meals. Meat analogs aren’t really my thing but I decided to give tofu another try. I usually cook it in a masala or crumbled it into ricotta form. Searing and dousing in BBQ sauce isn’t so bad either.

This is an amazingly easy recipe, especially if the BBQ sauce is already made. You can also broil or grill the tofu. The longer the tofu sits in any sauce/marinade, the more flavorful it will taste!

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I can’t really speak for the attractiveness of tofu in any form.

BBQ Tofu

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 6 oz tofu, pressed
  • 1/4 cup BBQ Sauce (I use Annie’s Original. I recommend Smitten Kitchen‘s recipe for homemade)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and the garlic.
  2. When the garlic begins to sizzle, add the tofu in an even layer. Sear each side for 3-4 minutes, until golden and slightly crispy.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the BBQ sauce until the tofu is completely coated. Serve with a hearty grain and veggie, if preferred.

Tomato & Corn Salad

It’s hot. Ice cream trucks are everywhere. Fire hydrants are being opened.

It’s summer.

The last thing I’m sure anyone wants to do during the heat is cook. Just the idea of being near an oven makes me sweat! On those days that you really can’t stand the heat of the kitchen, think about preparing a salad that is easy and quick. This tomato & corn salad is filling and refreshing and goes great with barbeque.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups fresh corn kernels (about 6 ears)
  • 2 lbs grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4 jalapeños, seeded & thinly sliced
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1/4 lime juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the corn, tomatoes, scallions, jalapeños, oil, and lime. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 12.